Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) has announced plans for new investments totaling about $1 billion to be spent over the next three to four years on expansions and upgrades at its copper operations in Zambia. KCM CEO Kishore Kumar said the funds will be spent on the company’s Chingola Refractory Ore project, development of the bottom-shaft loading facility at its Konkola Deep mine project, and upgrades to the East and West mills at its Nchanga operations in Chingola, as well as on exploration. KCM’s new investments fall under the company’s plan to become a 400,000-mt/y copper producer by 2012, Kumar said.

KCM is owned 79.4% by Vedanta Resources and operates the Nchanga open-pit and underground copper mines, the Konkola underground copper mine, the Nampundew underground pyrite mine, the Nchanga smelter, the Nkana refinery and a tailings leach plant, all in Zambia.

Kumar said KCM, which already provides training support to young Zambians in metallurgy, was keen to help with more training in other areas, including engineering to plug a skills shortage Zambia’s mines are currently facing. The company has already partnered with South African and Indian firms to help with the training of Zambians in various artisan and craft skills at both local and international institutions.

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